Vasilopita (New Year Bread)
yeast, active dry
Dissolve yeast in ¼ cup of the milk.
Add remainder of milk, eggs, orange rind and sugar.
Sift 3 cups flour, salt and spice into a warm bowl and make a well in the centre.
Pour in yeast mixture and stir to blend in flour, gradually adding warm melted butter.
Mix dough with hands until it comes away from sides.
Turn on to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, adding remaining flour as required.
Knead for 10 minutes.
Place ball of dough in a clean bowl brushed with melted butter.
Turn dough over to coat top with butter and cover bowl with a cloth or plastic wrap.
Leave to prove (rise) in a warm place until doubled in bulk.
Punch down and turn on to lightly floured surface.
Knead lightly and shape into a round loaf.
Place on a large greased baking sheet or in a greased 25 cm (10 inch) deep cake tin.
Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled - about 1½ to 2 hours.
Glaze with well-beaten egg and arrange blanched almonds in numbers to denote the New Year, pressing in lightly.
Bake in a moderately hot oven for 45 minutes until golden brown and cooked when tested.
If bread browns too quickly place a piece of greased brown paper on top.
Cool on a wire rack.